Intestinal Parasites, Fleas and Ear Mites in Kittens

By August 21, 2015Pet Talk

Do all kittens have worms?

Intestinal parasites are common in kittens. Kittens can become infested with parasites almost as soon as they are born. For example, the most important source of roundworm infection in kittens is the mother’s milk. The microscopic examination of a stool sample will help us to determine the presence of intestinal parasites. We recommend this exam for all kittens, if we can get a stool sample. Even if we do not get a stool sample, we recommend the use of a broad spectrum deworming product that is safe and effective against almost all of the common worms of the cat. It is given every 2 weeks until your cat is spayed or neutered. Periodic deworming throughout the cat’s life may be recommended for cats that go outdoors.

What can be done about fleas on my kitten?

Fleas do not stay on your kitten all of their time. Occasionally, they will jump off and seek another host. Therefore, it is important to kill fleas on your new kitten before they can become established in your house. Many of the flea control products that are safe on adult cats are not safe for kittens less than 6 weeks of age. Be sure that any flea product you use is purchased from a veterinarian and is labeled safe for kittens.

What are ear mites?

Ear mites are tiny insect-like parasites that live in the ear canal of cats (and dogs). The most common sign of ear mite infection is scratching of the ears. Sometimes the ears will appear dirty because of a black material in the ear canal; this material is sometimes shaken out. The instrument we use for examining the ear canals, an otoscope, has the necessary magnification to allow us to see the mites. Sometimes, we can find the mites by taking a small amount of the black material from the ear canal and examining it with a microscope. Although they may leave the ear canals for short periods of time, they spend the vast majority of their lives within the protection of the ear canal. Transmission generally requires direct ear-to-ear contact. Ear mites are common in litters of kittens if their mother has ear mites. A topical treatment that eliminates ear mites with a one-time dose is available at your veterinary clinic.

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